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  Section: Introduction to Botany » Bacteria
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  Is Bacteria a Plant?
  The Original Bacteria
  Modern, Aerobic Bacteria
  Characteristics of Bacteria
  Benefits of Bacteria
  Hazards of Bacteria
  Identifying Bacteria
  Bacterial Growth
At left, one of Leeuwenhoek's microscopes; at right, drawings of his discoveries
Figure 11-1 At left, one of Leeuwenhoek's microscopes;
at right, drawings of his discoveries

Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), a dry-goods merchant who liked to manufacture and use his own microscopes, is credited with first describing bacteria in the year 1683. The bacteria he studied may have come from scrapings of his teeth. Van Leeuwenhoek lived and worked at a time when it was commonly thought that small creatures arose from dust or bred from corruption, and his work helped uncover the truth that all life comes from previously existing life.


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